May 29, 2014 4:40pm
Re: The 1984 Project is finished........
10/17 at Brendan Byrne Arena. Here's the whole write up....
53. 10/17/84 – Brendan Byrne Arena, East Rutherford, NJhttps://archive.org/details/gd1984-10-17.sbd.miller.32057.sbeok.flac16
a. Iko, Iko – Spider sense immediately tingled with the first jangly key note. We even had some predator chimey things. The saving grace was that Phil was enormous in the mix right from the start. Jerry’s vocals were pretty ragged, but that’s understandable given the strength of the last couple of shows.
b. Promised Land – Change the title to “Phil Bombs the Promised Land”. 1:45...B3 keys. Brent almost atones for Iko, Iko. Almost. Bobby’s rhythm is pretty hot. Jerry sounds a little bit loose. But the bass and keys more than make up for it. It seemed short and kind of clunked into the end and was overall, a little loose and borderline sloppy, but a pretty good 80s Promised Land. Close to 2 ½ minutes of tuning and dead air – not sure if something happened or if they were trying to tighten things up.
c. West L.A. Fadeaway* – Well, whatever they did in the previous 2 and a half minutes seems to be working. Jerry and Bobby are crisp with the entry. Phil is tossing out subtle bombs. Some feedback issues here and there in Jer’s vocal mic. Nice tasty solo from Jer at 2:40 carried on the back of Phil bombs. The pace seems really slowed down which allows you to listen in between the notes. Keys are a muted midi sound – not bad, but not B3. At least there’s no jangle. Bob’s rhythm from 5:00-5:20 is really nice. The whole song is well done. There is almost 2 minutes of dead air at the end. You can hear a little back and forth as MBE is noodled, but there is a strong TLEO tease before settling on MBE.
d. My Brother Esau* – Another game plan huddle during the dead air? Whoever called the “Phil drop bombs and Brent play B3” audible is a hero. This was a great performance that I don’t need to waste words on.
e. Brown Eyed Women* – Jerry pulls off a super crispy entry, and is quickly followed by a Phil bomblet run. But, it’s too good to last - why, oh why the jangly keys? Billy and Mickey are well separated. Jer’s vocals are pretty strong. Phil is in the front center of the mix and matched up very well with Jerry – the combo does a pretty good job of mitigating the jangle effect. This one turned out pretty good after a sketchy start. This show is starting to solidify.
f. New Minglewood Blues* – Phil continues to bomb away. 1:20 brings us a sweet understated crescendo B3 slide entry. I know what that means in my mind. Jer’s first solo at around 1:45 is crisp but loose. I also know what that means in my head. Phil and Brent are doing a great job of laying down a great line for Jerry to noodle on. Excellent separation between Billy and Mickey. Of course, Bobby forgets where he is and mumbles his way through the local shout out to the local girls who need a couple of shots of whiskey to look good. At 4:30 there is a confluence of musical perfection. Bob’s slide gets loose and sloppy through the 5:30 mark, but Jer follows nicely with a slick run. And Phil drops bombs. A solid performance.
g. Row Jimmy – A touch jangly and a bit loose here and there. The separation between Billy and Mickey is as sharp as it’s been so far. Phil is still dropping bombs and Jer’s noodles are crisp. Safe tune, well performed – not great, not bad.
h. Looks Like Rain – Bob sounds like crap – but the crowd still loves it. There are precious few performances of this song that make me not wish it was over faster. This was not one of them. Jangly keys do nothing for this song. I get that the crowd likes it – I do not.
I. Might As Well – The wheels are starting to wobble a bit. Phil is solid, but both Jer and Bobby are getting loose and sloppy with their riffs. This has always been a borderline raucous tune anyway so it still fits, but they need to tighten up a little. Brent is switching (it seems) between slightly jangled and straight electric piano – stick with the piano.
j. Help on the Way – 30 plus seconds of noodling and coaxing before everyone got on board. Phil starts strong – as he always does with Help. Annoying echo in Jer’s vocals at 1:00ish. This song is not enhanced by jangly keys. The echo in Jer’s vocals also magnify the mumble when he blows the lyrics. At least there’s Phil. Jer’s riffs are solid though. Wobbly start to the second set. Vocal echo still there at second verse, Jer still blowing lyrics. He must have enjoyed set break a little too much?
k. Slipknot! – I’d have to say they lurched their way into Slipknot. Keyboard clam at 0:05 perhaps an ominous indicator? Around 0:45, Jer and Phil settle into a nice jam that keeps the just short of annoyingly jangly keys in check.
l. Franklin’s Tower* – Too quick for my taste. That said, Jer’s opening riff was crispy and clean. Whether or not his vocals follow suit remain to be seen. The annoying echo is still there, but he sounds strong and clear. For now. Brent’s keys match the pace pretty well – they are bright, but not too jangly. I am guardedly optimistic that they have tightened the wheels a little. It was too good to last. Complete vocal meltdown at 7:10. While I’m not a fan of these later up-tempo versions, this one turned out to be pretty good despite a couple of vocal warts.
m. Man Smart, Women Smarter – There is something wrong in the universe when a song I really don’t like doesn’t sound half bad. The wheels are starting to wobble again. The only one who doesn’t sound loose is Phil. 4:15ish - wheels are really wobbling now. This show may be getting away from the boys.
n. Terrapin Station – Given the recent sloppy downward trend in the show over the last few songs, I am overcome with great trepidation. Uggh, rhythm clams at 1:05. I remain optimistic. Optimism waning....another clam at 3:00. Jer’s first solo at 3:20ish was okay – at least there weren’t any horrendous clams. Phil is a steady presence, but the song is still rocky. At 7:10, Jer’s vocals take a noticeable downturn in clarity and strength. He’s dropping clams more frequently. I’m not sure if singing and playing is causing problems, but it seems as if Jer’s instrumental work is fine, but when he sings, both fall off? Not sure what is happening at 12:00 on. Seems like you could almost call this a Terrapin>Space>Drums>Space? Terrapin themed whale song at 14:10? I’m sure this was received well by the crowd, but this was not a strong performance for this year or any other.
o. Drums>Space – Drums>Space is supposed to be loose and unorganized right? I may be exaggerating a bit, but it was tighter than most of the second set songs so far. 6:45 brings the first concrete TOO tease/noodle. We’ll see – there’s almost two minutes to run off track. Phil bombs at 7:40ish gives me hope that the entry into TOO will be huge. If it turns out to be TOO.
p. The Other One* – It did and it was. Then comes angry Bobby vocals. Which are promptly flubbed....”It trembled and exploded, ha nnnnnnnnnna, nnnnnna, nnnnnnnnn, blaaaaaaa.” Then he jumps into the middle of the next verse and starts ad libbing – “It trembled and exploded, left a bus stop in its place. That’s where I got off and I left, the human race...... heeeeeeeyyyyyyyyyyyy.” Jerry jumps in with a pretty badass riff at 0:45 to save Bobby. Phil is providing outstanding suppression fire. Oh what will the second verse bring? 1:20 brings us some interpretive batshit rhythm guitar. Duck at 2:15 or get hit in the lips with Phil bombs. 4:30 brings us Phil bombs in the megaton range. I don’t know what to think – vocals were shaky, instrumental jams were pretty darn good. Fine, it was good. I’m weak.
q. Truckin’ – Ooooffff. PT Barnum drum major whistle circus entries rarely turn out well. Oddly enough, this one sounded loose but controlled. Bobby’s vocals are pretty sloppy, but he doesn’t have a major vocal flub and even throws in a somewhat humorous “Ever since she went and had her sex change....” version of the Sweet Jane verse. Jer’s riffs sound pretty crisp. Brent is B3 and Phil is solid. Nasty feedback at 4:25. The slop is spilling over to the soundboard. Yet....it wasn’t too bad.
r. Stella Blue – Decent transition into Stella. Jer’s vocals start out clear and relatively strong. And then we promptly get chimed. Then Jer’s vocals get hit with an echo/reverb. He sounds like he’s singing into a bucket. In less than a minute a promising start to a great song went south. How can you screw up a good thing? Follow the roadmap that was this show.
s. Goin’ Down the Road Feelin’ Bad* – Here’s to hoping that the B3 will carry this show to a merciful close. Jerry’s vocals are by now, ragged. They’ve done this tune enough that it should be automatic, but the way the rest of this show has gone, they could still find a way to hose this one up. Jer’s first riff at 1:40 is pretty clean and crisp. Looks like they’ve managed to muster enough strength to limp across the finish line. Jer lets go at 3:00 with a somewhat frenetic sounding solo. Clams are dropping in here and there – the whole thing is getting loose, consistent with how the show has gone. Everyone seems to be getting in on the act. The hurried pace somehow, somehow, actually blends into an enjoyable, if sloppy, performance. Even the vocals get loose and sloppy after 5:00 with the random Bobby scream and the Brent woos and wails. I can’t get the mental image of the Muppets Band (with Monster playing all the instruments) going bat shit and playing this song. Huge clam at 6:25 as this one limps to a close. The crowd roar trumps my vote.
t. Brokedown Palace – Well received by the crowd. This song is a perfect capstone to what was this show. The B3 was great, the vocals were weak, tired and ragged. Complete Jerry vocal meltdown at 1:35 with the “Sing a lullaby” verse. He groans his way through – you can hear someone tell him “Beside the water”, but I guess Jer sang himself into a lullaby. You can’t argue with the emotion he poured into his solo at 4:30, but that was one of the few highlights. This rendition of Brokedown is a precursor of how things would become in later years. The song was aptly named and it accurately described a brokedown show.
This was a painful show to listen to. Sloppy, too loose, a few high points amidst a sea of mediocrity. Worst show of the year (so far) by far.